Navratilova Wins Wimbledon Sets New Record

Mon. July 7, 2003 12:00 AM by

Wimbledon, England - There's nothing a middle aged lesbian can't do once she sets her mind to it, especially if her name is Martina Navratilova.

Sunday, the 46 year old Navratilova tied one Wimbledon record and set another. She won her 20th title at the All England Club tying with fellow lesbian Billie Jean King for the most Wimbledon titles.

Navratilova teamed with Leander Paes to defeat Andy Ram of Israel and Anastassia Rodionova of Russia 6-3, 6-3.

Navratilova becomes the oldest Wimbledon champion, supplanting American Margaret duPont, who was 44 in 1962 when she won mixed doubles.

Belying her age and proving her agility Navratilova did a girlish jump for joy as the 13,800-capacity Center Court crowd gave her a standing ovation.

"Welcome home Martina," shouted one fan.

When Navratilova first played Wimbledon she was representing Czechoslovakia. Now there is no Czechoslovakia to represent.

Richard Nixon was in the White House when she first wore her tennis whites at Wimbledon. She was a chubby Czech kid of 16 who got all the way to the third round.

Her doubles mate Sunday, Leander Paes, was born the week before Navratilova played her first match at Wimbledon.

"For a little kid from India," Paes said to her after their victory, "it's an honor to be on this court with a true legend of sport. Thank you for letting me be your vehicle to greatness."

In 2000 Navratilova was given the National Equality Award by the Human Rights campaign. She chairs charity organizations for LGBT rights including the Rainbow Foundation which raises money for health issues.

In her spare time, what little she has, Navratilova goes skiing, snowboarding and horseback riding. She plays pickup basketball and loves mystery books.

She is also an ardent liberal who might try politics. At least that's what Navratilova hinted in a London newspaper interview, in which she said that the United States under its current administration had "come from being the most respected country to the most hated, the most feared."

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter
European Bureau Chief
©® 2003

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.